HC Deb 19 June 1968 vol 766 c1089
47. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Minister of Transport what study he has made of the degrees of inflammability of varying grades of diesel fuel for trains; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Marsh

The selection of a suitable fuel for use on trains is a matter for the British Railways Board, but I am informed that the fuel oil in use on diesel locomotives and multiple-unit trains is to British Standard 2869/1957, Class A, which specifies a minimum flash point of 130°F.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the incidence of fire on diesel units is far too high and that the risk attaching to the existing grades of fuel is quite unacceptable to passengers who have to travel on these trains? What does he propose to do about this?

Mr. Marsh

There have been serious problems, but I think that the hon. Gentleman would do well not to exaggerate them and cause unnecessary worry. These are the minimum flash points. The fuel involved in the accident at Sandridge on 18th August, 1965, had a flash point of 170°F. Comparing that with petroleum spirit or other light fuels, which have a flash point of about 73°, this is a pretty big margin.

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